A Day in the Life of a Computer Animation Student at Full Sail University

Published March 21st, 2024

What a Full Sail computer animation student can expect when they’re on campus for classes.

By: Abby Stassen

When you study computer animation at Full Sail University, you’ll experience hands-on, project-based learning in a real-world environment. But what does that actually look like on a daily basis? Here’s a rundown of what Full Sail’s computer animation curriculum is all about and what students can expect when they’re on campus for classes.

Studying Computer Animation at Full Sail University

Full Sail University’s computer animation curriculum takes students through the same production process used in the animation industry. Students start off with the Computer Animation Associate of Applied Science program, where they learn about 3D art fundamentals like model creation, shading and lighting, and compositing. 

Once they’ve completed their associate-level classes, students can either graduate or continue on and earn a bachelor’s degree through the Visual Arts Bachelor of Science Completion Program with a Computer Animation Concentration. These classes promote skills like character rigging, motion capture, and a deeper understanding of the animation production pipeline. 

Throughout their computer animation coursework, students complete hands-on projects that can be added to their professional portfolio to show off once they graduate.

Before Class

A student studying computer animation will have classes and labs from either 9 AM to 5 PM or 1 PM to 9 PM. Attending Full Sail is a full-time job: Between lectures, labs, and coursework, students can expect to spend 40 hours a week or more on their studies. 

Before heading to campus for classes, students can pack their MSI GE Raider Laptop into their MSI Air Gaming backpack. Each computer animation student receives these as part of their customized Project LaunchBox, which is a package of hardware and software that they’ll use to complete their coursework. The laptop comes with Adobe Creative Cloud, Maxon One, Nuke, and additional software, and students keep everything after they graduate so they can continue creating.

Once students arrive on campus, they can head to Full Sail’s Jet Fuel Café for a coffee and catch up with their fellow creatives on the way to class. 

Lectures

The computer animation classes emphasize practical applications of theoretical knowledge, and they’re taught by instructors with industry experience. These course directors bring the real world to the classroom, helping students see the connection between what they’re doing in class and what they can expect in the working world. 

For example, in Month 4 of the bachelor-level classes, students will take Character Animation and Motion Capture. In Character Animation, students will explore methods and software tools to create expressive animations for a character. They’ll also get more familiar with peer critiques and constructive feedback. In Motion Capture, they’ll use an industry-standard motion capture setup and experience the filming, tracking, and editing process from start to finish. 

When students aren’t in class, they can get even more real-world input by checking out a guest lecture from animation industry professionals or connecting with successful alumni at Full Sail’s annual Hall of Fame week

Taking a Break

Between classes and labs, computer animation students can grab a bite to eat at a number of nearby restaurants. Firehouse Subs is a popular spot for a quick sandwich. They can also grab a slice of pizza at Zackley’s on campus or take advantage of common areas, like the fishbowl, the library, and the patio outside of Building 3F, to connect and collaborate with peers. 

Labs

When a student walks through the door of their computer animation lab, they’ll put the foundational knowledge they’ve gained in their classes to work by creating assets for their projects. They might use reference photos to develop character ideas and create a production blueprint, integrate computer-generated elements into videos, or use digital sculpting tools to model a character. Along the way, they’ll collaborate and develop working relationships with their classmates.

Some of the campus areas where computer animation students work and connect include:

  • 3D Arts Center

  • Traditional Art Studio

  • 3D Arts Lab

  • Motion Capture Lab

  • The Hub

  • Computer Animation Center

  • Green Screen Studio

Campus Events

When they’re not in class, students are encouraged to check out Full Sail’s campus events. Clubs like PRIDE, the Black Student Union, the Veteran Student Union, and the International Student Society connect students from all walks of life. Campus organizations like the Student Community Association frequently organize events like open mic nights, block parties, meet and greets, and more. 

Homework & Projects

For Full Sail students, learning doesn’t end when they leave campus. Computer animation students can work on their assignments from anywhere with their Project LaunchBox laptop. They’re also encouraged to communicate with their instructors outside of class to get more information about their projects and ask general questions about animation.

Full Sail’s Behind the Scenes Tour

Ready to take a closer look at what Full Sail has to offer? Check out the university’s campus and computer animation facilities at a Behind the Scenes tour.

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